Spieth stumbles at windy Pebble Beach

By Will GrayFebruary 9, 2014, 3:08 am

Kapalua, Torrey Pines and Pebble Beach. Three times in 2014 Jordan Spieth has held at least a share of the lead heading into a weekend round, but after the 20-year-old struggled mightily Saturday it appears all three opportunities will end with Spieth outside the winner's circle.

Entering the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am tied atop the leaderboard with Jimmy Walker, Spieth faced the toughest of the three courses in this week's rotation amid the week's most difficult conditions. While Walker made the most of his crack at easier Monterey Peninsula, Spieth stumbled out of the gates at Pebble Beach, making just one birdie en route to an outward nine of 4-over 40 that caused his name to plummet down the standings.

The back nine didn't prove any easier for the Texan, as a birdie on the 15th hole merely brought him back to 5 over for the round, 4 under for the week and within nine shots of Walker. When play was halted Saturday because of darkness, Spieth faced a 5-foot putt to save par on the 16th hole.

While Spieth remains one of the hottest players on Tour, his relative struggles on the weekend this year have dampered what has been an otherwise strong follow-up to a 2013 campaign that netted him Rookie of the Year honors. He co-led the Hyundai Tournament of Champions through 54 holes but ultimately finished second behind Zach Johnson, and three weeks later held the lead at the midway point of the Farmers Insurance Open. Spieth was just one shot back entereing the final round at Torrey Pines but fell back into a tie for 19th after a disappointing 75 on Sunday.

Spieth was not the only player to struggle Saturday at Pebble, where the scoring average was three full shots over par amid blustery winds, and despite the difficult day he will wake up Sunday morning in a tie for 11th. Still, barring a final-round comeback this week may be viewed as another instance in which the rising star put himself in position, but ultimately failed to capitalize.

Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

“Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

“I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”

Getty Images

PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

Getty Images

Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm